SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Two lawyers for Elk Grove resident Dawid Wozniak, facing extradition to Poland to stand trial for his alleged role in a man’s death in 2007, have sent an eleventh-hour submission package to the Secretary of State in a final effort to have their client released.
In the letter sent to Antony Blinken on the 15th, a copy of which was viewed by The Update, Wozniak’s team asks the secretary to exercise his ultimate discretion in their favor by declining to surrender Wozniak to the Republic of Poland.
“Believing that he was free to live and pursue his dreams in the United States, Mr. Wozniak accomplished extraordinary achievements through hard work, dedication, and a belief in the American Dream,” attorneys Joseph Abrams and Ryan Okabe write in the letter. “It is simply wrong to take all of that away from him and his family due to institutional decisions that were made in error or through incompetence, and for which Mr. Wozniak never had a reasonable chance to seek redress.”
Wozniak’s team outlines a series of flaws they have with the extradition request, including the controversial decision to charge him as an adult and the often-delayed process of issuing his arrest warrant. A Polish prosecutor previously objected to a family court’s decision to move Wozniak’s case to criminal jurisdiction but was ultimately overruled by the court.
A federal judge in June declined to halt the certification of the extradition based on the objections and said the arguments would be better suited to be settled with Blinken or in a trial court in Poland.
Wozniak has been charged in the Ciechanow District of Poland with one count of grievous bodily injury resulting in death, tied to the death of Andrezj Malinowski during a vodka binge on Christmas Eve in 2007.
Polish authorities say a 16-year-old Wozniak and four friends stopped at a supermarket in the area when, suddenly, the drunk teenager tried to pull a man out of his car.
Wozniak’s friends pulled him away, and the young man picked up a wooden stick and set off down the sidewalk – a small group stood outside of an apartment complex waiting for a friend. Unbeknownst to them, they would become Wozniak’s next victims.
Wozniak allegedly began to hit one of the men in the group with his stick when a passerby approached him, objecting to the attack. Wozniak turned the stick on him, clubbing him as a friend kicked him. The man, Andrezj Malinowski, fell hard on his head and would later die of brain injuries.
Despite his identification as a suspect relatively early on, the issuing of his arrest warrant after he legally immigrated to the United States was delayed for over 15 years following deficiencies with early extradition requests. A complaint was finally filed in February of this year, and Wozniak was picked up by Deputy US Marshals. He’s been detained ever since
The letter to Blinken is Wozniak’s final option to attempt to stop authorities from sending him back to Poland. His lawyers also had the option to file a habeas petition, but ultimately declined to do, citing its time-consuming nature.
A State Department spokesperson said officials wouldn’t comment on individual extradition requests, and a separate spokesperson for the US Attorney’s Office declined to comment.
Federal prosecutors have previously opined that the evidence laid out by Poland – witness identification, implication by Wozniak’s now-convicted codefendant, and the recovery of the weapon used in the beating – was sufficient enough to establish probable cause. They have now relinquished their involvement in the case as it gets closer to being tried in Poland.